As many attorneys already know and loath, there is a byzantine set of professional rules and ethical guidelines that govern advertising for lawyers. It can be hard to distinguish your practice, for example, if you’re not allowed to compare the quality of your legal services with the competition’s.
While some law firms don’t have the necessary financial resources to implement an aggressive campaign, others are intimidated by these restrictive and often vague rules.
However, there are creative ways around both problems. Often, the best advertising for lawyers spends the vast majority of the advertisement identifying with its target audience and only flashes the firm’s information at the end.
Aside from avoiding many of the potential ethical issues, this can create a very effective ad. Here are some more specific ideas and examples of what others have done:
Storytelling in Advertising for Lawyers
One of the surest ways to connect with your target audience is to tell an anecdote that relates to their experience. The story may be poignant or funny, so long as it’s compelling and effectively speaks to the nature of the legal services you render. Indeed, the potential here may be greatly affected by your practice area.
In these two examples from the New York firm, Trolman, Glaser & Lichtman, this storytelling strategy sees a comedic inversion that simultaneously helps identify prospective clients who are serious about seeking a personal injury attorney—
Memes and Gimmicks
Instead of telling a story about a fictional client, you can associate your firm with a creative gimmick or meme. Whether it’s eliciting an “awww” over a heartfelt image or a hearty laugh from the viewer, you can often create a positive, memorable impression in a very short amount of time.
Here, you’ll want to be careful not to undermine your reputation and credibility with the wrong association. A cute animal can go a long way toward getting eyeballs in front of your ad, but you want to mindful of the image and qualities you’re projecting on to your legal practice.
Here’s an example from the Australian firm, Shine Lawyers— http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkSLXbut_vs&feature=related
Ad Series and Smart Distribution
With a few brainstorming sessions, you may generate multiple ad ideas. With very low production costs, there’s no reason you can’t make an entire ad series. It’s often impossible to predict which advertising for lawyers is going to have the most effective impact.
Keep in mind, too, that despite all the technical jargon about reaching critical mass, there’s no clear distinction between a viral and non-viral video—especially when you remember you’re only operating in a local market.
In this case, surveying the user comments can be instructive. Moderate traffic and view counts combined with reviews that suggest the ad was uniquely compelling in some way may provide evidence that the video is worth putting some money behind.
In the meantime, it may help to include some video taglines and keywords that indicate the city or market in which your firm operates. This can help prospective clients searching for local attorneys find your ad materials.
Effective Marketing for Your Firm
As with most advertising, this strategy is largely a hit-or-miss proposition. To implement a more targeted approach, you can also join Total Attorney’s network and receive productive leads generated by local, online consumers who fill out detailed query forms that indicate they are actively seeking your type of legal services.